I got home late last night from an amazing trip to Montana. We stayed at Donna and Jake Mcdonalds’ Upper Canyon Outfitters. To say I was impressed with their operation is a huge understatement. I had four guests with me. Michael, Ted, and Barb had all either fished at this ranch or spent time in the west. For Larry, this was his first time ever even being out west. It was a lot of fun to see his excitement throughout the trip. With views like the one above, who wouldn’t be excited? Look below for more trip pics.
We arrived in Butte on Saturday afternoon. The Butte airport was a pleasure to fly into. Simple, small, and super easy. Jake picked us up promptly and after grabbing a few beverages for the week, we were off. The drive to ranch was very nice. Jake took us up through the mountains and through agricultural valleys explaining local history of the area and any other questions we had. Once we arrived at the ranch we explored the ranch a bit, enjoyed a cold beer, did a bit of lawn casting, then went to check out the section of Ruby river running right behind the ranch.
Meals were great. We all loved the hearty breakfast’s and dinner’s and agreed they would be hard to give up. I think we all agreed the steaks we had one night were the biggest steaks we had ever seen much less eaten (for those not so into steak they also made crab and salmon cakes that night). If you left the table hungry it was totally your fault.
Sunday morning we woke up early, had a great breakfast, and then broke into our fishing groups. We were assigned a section of the Upper Ruby. Ted started the ballgame with a nice Rainbow caught on a dropper. Fishing ended up being a bit tough during the week. Everyone caught fish and I am confident that everyone returned home a better fisherman.
Stream side lunches gave everyone a chance to recharge their batteries.
This is definitely the “true west”. This was a the view we shared while fishing the “Schoolhouse” section.
We really tested every ones skills and stamina over the next few days. The guys worked very hard and were rewarded. Ted and Michael both progressed as fishermen and I am sure they left the ranch more confident in their abilities.Larry had done the least fishing of the group. I was pleased when one our guide Rick, really took him under his wing and made him a first class fly fisherman by the end of the week. All of the guides were great along with the rest of the staff. Donna employs excellent fishing guides, they are great fishermen and just really good people to be around.
Everyone was having a great time when Michael went and caught a huge brown. Our guide, Mitch, and I were ecstatic. The fished measured 23.5 inches and was likely pushing 5 pounds. The pictures really don’t do this fish justice. Micheal fought it like a pro and soon it was in the net.
Michael caught a few more nice browns that day, but we were all pretty much on a high all day from this fish.
Ted sure as hell wasn’t gonna get left behind, so a day or two later he picked up this awesome rainbow in about 6 inches of water. This fish was just hanging out under a log, sipping small stuff. Ted expertly ran some nymphs in the area and we were on!
This was about a 20 inch fish. This fish was extra special due to its vibrant colors. The flanks and gill plates were almost blood red while the rest of the body had a very dark complexion. It really was a special fish.
Ted was a bit excited. As we neared the end of the day, a large hatch started coming off. Ted continued to nymph but I took to casting dry flies. I had a caught a few little cuttbows earlier in the day but now there were 15-20 fish just cruising and sucking insects off the top of the pool right in front of me.
I landed a few grayling on an elk hair caddis but the trout weren’t so easily fooled. I switched to a size 20 parachute PMD, and went to work. The first few casts didn’t produce. One the next cast a nice brown took my offering. I was throwing a Sage 4 weight so it was a fun few minutes. The fish ended up being about 18 inches and made my day.
I’ll share more pictures in the next few days. Mark heads out west in a day or two with his Montana group. I think they will have some great fishing. Once he returns, we will start planning for next year.